Tag: Gizmology

By on September 15, 2016

Tesla Model S

It’s common knowledge that Tesla vehicles store and transmit data back to the company’s Fremont, California home base, but a hacker working on a wrecked Model S just discovered something startling.

In an interview published by Inverse (h/t to Hybrid Cars), North Carolina computer programmer Jason Hughes claims that Tesla’s Autopilot system actually records video. While working on a center display unit from a wrecked Model S, Hughes found footage of the vehicle’s crash. (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2016

Autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid Side

Taking to a Dearborn stage on Monday, Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields declared, “We are expanding our business to be both an auto and mobility company.” With this statement, Fields has created additional competition. No longer will Ford only be battling traditional auto manufacturers.

Now, the automaker’s competitors include Uber, Lyft, Google, and Apple — each one focused on current and future mobility solutions. How does the company plan to win? (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

In his Master Plan, Part Deux, some of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s visions make a lot of sense, like a compact SUV based on the Model 3 platform, and a pickup truck, which will presumably have more than enough torque to haul around a big load (and plenty of space for a big battery pack).

That’s not at all what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about some of the more speculative parts of the Musk vision: the self-driving vision. (I first wrote about some of the dystopian aspects of self-driving cars for TTAC in 2010.)

Musk wants you, the owner of a Tesla, to click a button and have your self-driving car go off and Uber itself during the day while you’re at work, earning you money. It will come back to you at the end of the day, ready for you to use again. This vision is going to have a very harsh collision with reality. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, Image: FCA

In a few weeks, after Pokémon Go jumps the shark and we all head back to our homes for nights of solitude, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will offer another opportunity for high-tech geekery. And a lucrative one, too.

Announced today, the automaker will hand tech-savvy individuals cold, hard cash in return for information on weaknesses in its vehicles’ cybersecurity. Exposing a hidden backdoor that hackers could sneak through will net you up to $1,500. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2016

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

Less than a week after it was revealed that Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving mode played a role in a deadly May crash, the automaker is planning a host of changes to its Autopilot system.

The changes, billed as the 8.0 upgrade, include a feature that allows the vehicle to exit a highway and navigate an off-ramp while in Autopilot mode, according to Autoguide. The function will be activated by the vehicle’s turn signal. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2016

Hyperloop test

No one wants their most exciting moment to last two seconds, so let’s hope the folks at Hyperloop One have bigger things coming down the, erm, pipe.

Yesterday, amid great fanfare and hype, the recently renamed Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies) performed the first open-air test of the electromagnetic propulsion system at the heart of the futuristic transportation concept.

As a bandstand of employees and media watched beneath the hot Nevada sun, a test vehicle rocketed along a track for two seconds, hitting Camry-on-a-joyride speeds — officially, 116 miles per hour — before plowing into a sand trap. The future doesn’t have brakes yet, just sand. (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2013

Some forty years in the making, start-stop  technology has arrived on your smartphone. Volkswagen launched an app that stops YouTube videos automatically when you look away from the screen. And it starts again, when you look back. The app uses facial recognition technology to capture when the viewer is looking away, only to resume when eyeballs are back on screen. PWHS (People With Heightened Sensitivities) will not like it: Averting your eyes during a shocking scene on YouTube won’t help anymore. The price of progress, I guess.
But what are the origins of this startling technology? (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2013

In the world of dealer standards, it is usually the OEMs that write the standards, and it is the dealers who have to pay the usually steep bills. Occasionally, an OEM even is tempted to recoup the steep cost of developing a new corporate identity by marking up the signage sold to its dealers.  Dealers hate it. Ford is doing something dealers will love: Ford will offer dollar-for-dollar matching funds to its 3,100 U.S. dealers to upgrade their shops, from new construction to improved digital programs, Ford executives told Reuters. (Read More…)

By on November 30, 2012

Sprint Nextel presents a new “Velocity” in-vehicle communications and entertainment architecture at the LA auto show. You can’t buy it from Sprint, but Sprint hopes your automaker will buy it from them. This did not keep Sprint from taking jabs at its presumptive customers: (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2011

MyFordTouch was supposed to build on the SYNC system’s momentum, extending Ford’s edge in mass-market infotainment gizmology. Instead, MyFord nearly killed the golden egg-laying goose, by earning Ford a sharp downgrade from Consumer Reports and widespread criticism. Ford has decided that 40-minute training sessions weren’t going to cut it as a response to the complaints that the system was balky and confusing, and The Blue Oval is now trumpeting the all-new for 2013 version of MyFordTouch. Because, in the words of Ford’s spokes-interior-designer-person

As you can see, with a software platform like SYNC, it’s easy to continuously improve and upgrade your system.

You know, in comparison to the all-new Ford Escape she’s sitting in. It’s still not quite as easy as a computer software update: instead of downloading the reflash, you have to go into a dealer to get the upgrade. Meanwhile, this is just the latest hurdle in the hot-hot in-car gizmo side of the business. The big one comes in 2014, when the government issue rules on distraction-mitigation in voice-activated in-car systems. That could make this minor public beta testing fiasco look like nothing…

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